In the blistering heat and with dust everywhere, a mysterious figure trudges onward—followed by dozens of persons carrying knapsacks.
One follower, petitioned by his companions, finds the gumption to politely question his leader.
Follower: Al-Masih, why do you lead us through this desert? What is our purpose?
Leader: What desert? This is Port of Spain. That’s just Sahara dust boy. And I tell you my name is not Al-Masih. It is Mr Live Wire! Steups.
In the gathering behind him, excited whispers start as a familiar landmark comes into view.
Follower #2: Look! It is the Red House! Al-Masih has lead us into protest against the opulence of our oppressive politicians! Hala hala! Today, they will know the wrath of the under trodden! Quick, who walk with bottle and spoon?! Anybody remember to bring pelau?
Live Wire: Steups. Who tell allyuh I going Parliament? I am on a noble mission to restore purity and tradition. If I wanted to see big people selling themselves and committing all manner of vice for money, I woulda go George Street or Augustus Williams Park!
Follower #3: Does Al-Masih march against the recent rise in kidnapping then? I read recently that a young man, who committed no more than a minor traffic infringement, was snatched from his car, dragged to a bush camp and taken on a Spanish-run boat ride across the Gulf of Paria where he was forced to listen to a strange woman being tossed overboard before being returned to Penal…
Live Wire: Me too. I say Vicky Boodram Tours up and running again when I read that. I don’t mind giving that excursion a go; but I need a guarantee that someone would throw the madam overboard…
Follower #4: Is it the unholy murder rate that provoked this pilgramage, Al-Masih? Do you have a message for the prime minister?
Live Wire: His ‘Garry Sobers’ should declare his innings…
Follower #5: Is it the devilish scourge of domestic violence? Gender activists have demanded that women withhold sex from their partners until 8 March so that the nation’s treatment of women be finally given priority…
Live Wire: Wrong again. So gender activists themselves are reducing the value of women to the granting of sexual favours? I mean the president of the country is a woman! Why women don’t make a point by staying home from their 8 to 4 jobs for a day instead? And who thought starving their man of sex during Carnival was a progressive idea? All now dem señoritas must be practising to wine, roll roti and make tea with plenty sugar…
Suddenly, Live Wire stops on Frederick Street. The crowd gathers around him in silent awe.
Follower (reads a sign outside the establishment): Crosby’s Record Shop? What is this place, Al-Masih?
Follower #6: It is a temple for the devil! It is a collection of works of grave iniquity that will destroy the soul of our people!
Live Wire: Steups! Fuad Khan, wha de arse yuh doing here?! Get thee hence before I smite thee!
Bacchanal ensues as the gathering shout their disapproval and Fuad beats a meek withdrawal—like David John-Williams from the TTFA. Finally, Live Wire turns to face the crowd which has followed him dutifully, as though he were the prophet Preedy.
Live Wire: If you look for truth, you may find comfort. If you look for comfort, you will never find truth…
The crowd murmurs and nods in approval. But there are many confused faces.
Live Wire: All of us knows, not what is expedient, not what is going to make us popular, not what we think the masses want to hear—but in truth, each of us knows what is the right thing to do. And that’s how I am guided… The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.
Again, the crowd makes low, agreeable noises as followers smile vacuously and hold hands.
Live Wire: … Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment… Thou must be able and willing to speak truth to power…
Sheepishly, a follower raises his hand.
Follower: Al-Masih, please forgive my ignorance… But thou speakest in parables… What are you saying?
Live Wire: Machel shoulda never sing with Iwer. ‘Conch shell’ is real shit.